Pastor-teacher Don Hargrove

Faith Bible Church

Friday, June 4, 2010




Preparation for Bible Class.There are three issues that are very important to understand the true nature of Christianity.


††††††††††† The first is salvation.Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone.The issue is not sin but the Son. The Word of God promises that all who come to Him will never be cast out,


††††††††††††††††††††††† John 6:37 "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.


††††††††††† The second unique aspect of Christianity is the spiritual life.Christianity is not a religion it is a relationship.Religion is all about man by manís efforts trying to win the favor of God whereas Christianity is all about God working in and through the believer.


††††††††††††††††††††††† Gal 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.


††††††††††††††††††††††† Philippians 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.


††††††††††† The third issue is spiritual growth which alone gives the believer not only the mental attitude to handle all of the pressures of life, but also gives the believer the capacity to enter into Godís very best: the abundant promised life Ė the life and blessings that are far above what one could ask or imagine, Eph 3:14-20; 1 Cor 2:9.


††††††††††† The salvation issue is faith in Jesus Christ.If you have never believed in Jesus Christ simply trust in Him for salvation.†† The spiritual issue is the unhindered ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life which means that if you have sinned since last confession you need to confess your sins privately to God for restoration to fellowship with God .The issue in maturity is to keep growing by the intake and application of the Word of God: learn the Word of God and apply the Word of God to the issues you are facing Ė by doing so you will grow in maturity, strength, and capacity to enjoy life.†††




††††††††††† There is a strange concept today among certain Christians, e.g. those who live by their experiences, that dying is actually something very terrible.†† This attitude cannot exist in a doctrinal believer who understands and lives in the realities of what the Bible says about death.To the mature doctrinal believer death is not something terrible; rather it is a change of residence from planet earth with all of its satanic evils (cf. 1 Jn 5:19) to eternal heaven where there is nothing but the most fantastic blessings.†† This reality is often not true in an immature believer who lives in irrational fear with regard to death.†† The Apostle Peter comes to mind when I think of the change of attitude toward death in an immature believer without doctrine in contrast to that same believer with a soul filled with doctrine who no longer fears death.†† We all know about Peter denying the Lord and how he ran and hid behind closed doors due to fear of his life.What is not as well known is that in maturity Peter had absolutely no fear of death,

††††††††††††††††††††††† 2 Peter 1:13 And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.

††††††††††† I find it very interesting that as Peter was contemplating his imminent departure from this earth what was prominent in his mind was to remind believers of the Christian doctrines.What someone talks about shortly before they die is always of the utmost importance.††† Under the ministry of the Holy Spirit living in the reality of Bible doctrine Peter became a great believer.This can be true of all of us if we simply recover and get with Bible doctrine.†† Only through Bible doctrine can we really know that God has a purpose for our lives and that that purpose is to glorify Him.Why didnít we die at birth? - because God had a purpose for us!Why havenít we died along the way? Ė because God has a definite purpose for us!†† When we add up each purpose it all adds up to the same thing:we are alive to glorify Him - that we might come to the realization of the truths that are found only in the doctrines of the Scriptures - that we might begin to realize that there is something far far greater than life on this earth:LIFE IN HEAVEN!IT IS ETERNAL LIFE!IT IS THE GREATEST BLESSING!†† This cannot be known apart from life in the Spirit and Christian doctrine in the soul.The issue is moving forward in the spiritual life and not staggering at the promises of God,

††††††††††††††††††††††† Romans 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.


††††††††††† It is absolutely irrational for any Christian to fear death.†† Think about it: if you cannot believe what Jesus Christ said about preparing a place for you (Jn 14:1-3), then how can you believe anything He said about salvation or anything else?†† Irrationality always creates confusion and fear.It is the Christian rational faith, faith based on overwhelming evidence,that yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.Christ has come to free us from the fear of death,

††††††††††††††††††††††† 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.

††††††††††† Every believer has been given a certain amount of time on this earth and that time must be used with wisdom.†† This means that we cannot live our life based on emotions.It must be lived on the basis of the objective Word of God.To live our lives on experience is a recipe for disaster.Only Bible doctrine gives us dogmatic absolute Truth which alone provides security and peace Ė especially in the face of death.Peter learned this lesson the hard way.Earlier he based his life on experience and ran like a dog with its tail between its legs, later we can see him in the epistles in doctrine with his dogmatism and absolutes and totally without fear in the face of his impending death.We see him facing death with confidence and happiness.†† He learned that life must be lived on Christian doctrine and not experiences and that anytime oneís experiences conflict with what the Bible says, the Bible is ALWAYS right.Only under these conditions can you face life and face death.Fear is the great enemy of the spiritual life and it is only Bible doctrine that removes all fear in life as well as in death.God provides solutions to everything in life and in death.††† Fear for the Christian is not only a sign of irrationality but arrogance, self-deception, and self absorption.†† Fear is preoccupation with the problem instead of focusing in on the Lord.The believer who finds himself in fear needs to orient to the fact that he belongs to the Lord and orient to God and His doctrines regarding fear,

††††††††††††††††††††††† Isaiah 41:10 'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'


††††††††††††††††††††††† 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.†††††††††††††††††††††††

††††††††††† Letís review four doctrinal reasons the believer never need to fear death.††

††††††††††† 1.  The believerís death is a matter for the sovereignty of God. Once you settle in your mind that God decides perfectly the time and manner of your death, and the time and manner of the death of a loved one, including a child, you will no longer have a problem with it. You may have sorrow for a short period of time but ultimately, if you trust in the character and nature of God, you will know that whatever He does or allows, there is a justified reason for it.

††††††††††††††††††††††† Job 1:21 And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD."

          Dying is the one part of the Christianís life that does not depend upon the individualís free will or his volition; it depends entirely on the sovereignty of God. The timing and manner of death is not a matter for us to decide; nothing will prolong or shorten a believerís life beyond Godís timing for his death. 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Psalm 68:20 God is to us a God of deliverances; And to God the Lord belong escapes from death.

          The believer has no control over the time, place or manner of his death; it is a matter of Godís sovereignty, wisdom and integrity. Until the Lord is ready to take us home to be with Him, we are going to continue to live on this earth. Mankind has no authority or choice over when or how he will die.


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ecclesiastes 8:8 No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and evil will not deliver those who practice it.


††††††††††† The dying stage of a Christianís life may be short or it may be prolonged, it may be a period of suffering or it may be pain free.Whatever it is, it will be perfect because God is perfect and all of His decisions are perfect.He is never wrong, unfair or unjust.Any time you become critical or upset, blaming God for a decisions He has made concerning death, take a step back and remember:He is never wrong, He can never made a mistake, and everything that He has ordained is perfect and right.Since the omniscience of God knows all of the facts in each individual case, the matter of the physical death of a believer is always a wise decision.


††††††††††† 2.   Death has lost its power over the believer.


          The greatest encouragement in the world that each and every believer should take to heart is the absolute truth that death has lost its power over him.


††††††††††††††††††††††† Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death for all time, And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken.


††††††††††††††††††††††† 1 Corinthians 15:16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; 17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. 20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, 24 then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. (1Co 15:16 NAS)


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1 Corinthians 15:54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" 56 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.


          Death is simply a shadow and a valley that we must pass through to enter the eternal state.


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 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.


          Once the believer understands that he is eternally united to the One who has gained the victory over death, the Lord Jesus Christ, he can live in confidence, free from the bondage and slavery that the fear of death causes. 


††††††††††††††††††††††† 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.


††††††††††† 3.   The believerís death is precious in the eyes of the Lord.


          The death of every believer, winner or loser, is always valuable and precious in the eyes of the Lord. Even though some will die as losers (e.g. believers who base their lives on their emotions and experiences instead of doctrine), all believers go to Heaven, and this is a triumph for God over Satan. Any time a person makes a decision to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, God is glorified, and when that person is brought home there is joy in Heaven. 


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones.

 †††††††††† 4.   Death means being face to face with the Lord in a state of perfect happiness.


          At the moment of death, the believer is immediately transported into the presence of the Lord. He leaves behind his physical body, which is no longer needed, and enters into Heaven with his soul, spirit and interim body. 


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2 Corinthians 5:6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-- 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight-- 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.


          Heaven will be a place of perfect happiness and contentment. None of the problems and pressures we face here on earth will follow us there. Our interim bodies will suffer nothing unpleasant; there will be no mourning, no crying, and no pain. 


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, 4 and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."


          The apostle Paul, in the book of Philippians, stated the attitude we should all have toward death.


††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Philippians 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain


††††††††††† Why did Paul say in verse 20, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body? Why didnít he say that Christ would be exalted in his soul or his human spirit? The answer is because the body experiences dying, not the soul or spirit. And the death of a believer comes at a time of the Lordís choosing; it is entirely His decision.


          Paul knew that he was a spiritual winner. He knew that Christ Jesus had everything under control and that the future would be extraordinary. Paul knew that God saves the best for last, lavishing blessings in dying and death, while making the final preparations for life in Heaven throughout all eternity. Why did Paul have such peace and confidence? Through Christian doctrine and advancement to spiritual maturity, he came to the realization that God had everything under His total control and was saving the best for last. Paul had lived a wonderful life, absorbed with his relationship and service to the Lord. He was a man in a state of contentment as he stared death in the face; he knew that dying was actually the beginning of a life that would last and endure forever.


          The believer who lives by emotions and experiences rather than Christian doctrine, on the other hand, will face dying as a time of anxiety, worry and fear. There will be no dying grace, and no tranquility of soul or peace of mind.  He will not have that confidence found in the doctrine believer who lives in fellowship with God (1 Jn 2:28).†† However, the day he dies is still better than the day he was born - or any time in between. He will meet the Lord Jesus Christ face to face, and he will live with Him for eternity. While the loser believer (carnal immature believer) will experience shame at the Bema Seat of Jesus Christ (1 Jn 2:28; 2 Tim 2:15 for the carnal pastor) and the eternal loss of greater blessings and rewards, he will be in heaven forever and much happier than he ever imaginedon earth - for after the Bema Seat of Christ there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, nothing but happiness.In Heaven even the carnal loser believerís cup will overflow, even if his cup is much smaller than the overcomer believerís cup.The overcomer will be enjoying fantastic greater grace blessings of being honored personally by the Lord Jesus Christ before the entire universe.


††††††††††† ††††††††††† Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, 4 and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."


††††††††††† ††††††††††† Revelation 3:20 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. ††


Christian doctrine matters!

Safe and Sound in Him,

Pastor Don