John 14:1-3, 6
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
“God never sees His children die; He simply sees them coming home.”
It is said that when one of his church members was dying, John Watson, the Scottish preacher of Edinburgh, would kneel down and whisper in the person’s ear: “In my Father’s house are many rooms.”
Then, with a contented sigh, the person would “slip away”—entirely unafraid. There is something about this great portion of scripture which consoles us.
If we could see, only for a moment, just how glorious _______________’s homecoming was, no one here would call her back to the limits of her aged body.
Even though ______________ will be missed, there is something very appropriate about her departure, even as the author of Ecclesiastes indicated, “There is a time to be born, and a time to die (see Ecclesiastes 3:2).
It is appropriate because…
…she had lived out a full, complete, life.
…she had accepted and known the love of God and of family.
…her house was in order
…she was ready to die
…she was a Christian and she loved God
One person said: “There is nothing more certain than death, and nothing more unsure than life.”
Life in these bodies, and life on this earth is temporal!
The Bible refers to our bodies as tents, and for a little while, a tent can be a wonderful home. When a hiker is in the mountains, enjoying the wonderful outdoors, a tent can be exactly what he needs when he becomes weary and needs a place to rest and be refreshed.
While tents are wonderful for their intended purpose, a person doesn’t expect to live in a tent forever. Before long, a person longs “to go home” and live in a house, a structure that is much more permanent and sturdy than a tent.
You remember the scripture we read earlier. Jesus said: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. In my Father’s house are many mansions (or dwelling places). I go to prepare a place for you, so that where I am, there you may be also.”
Tents are good for a purpose and helpful for a season, but they can wear out. The fabric can become weak and torn and the poles can collapse.
The Apostle Paul, speaking of the confidence possessed by a believer, said…
2 Corinthians 5:1, 6-8
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven. Therefore, we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
Probably no one has given us a clearer picture of what death means to a mature Christian than grand old John Quincy Adams. When that remarkable American was turning four-score years, he was hobbling down the street one day in his favorite city of Boston, leaning heavily on a cane. Suddenly a friend slapped him on the shoulder and said, “Well, how’s John Quincy Adams this morning?”
The old man turned slowly, smiled, and said, “Fine, Sir, fine! But this old tenement that John Quincy lives in is not so good. The underpinning is about to fall away. The thatch is all gone off the roof, and the windows are so dim John Quincy can hardly see out anymore. As a matter of fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if before winter’s over he had to move out. But as for John Quincy Adams, he never was better… never was better!”
With this he started hobbling on down the street, believing without a shadow of a doubt that the real John Quincy Adams was not a body that you could enclose in a casket or bury in a grave.
He recognized that beyond the temporary physical man on the outside, there is a spiritual and eternal man on the inside. The flesh dies and is buried, but the spirit lives forever with God.
When someone we love passes on, there is naturally an element of sorrow. When you’ve been around someone for many years, or for however long you’ve been alive, that person can become an important part of your life, and you miss them when they’re gone.
But today, beyond our natural sorrow, there is a supernatural joy that comes from knowing:
…the reality of Jesus
…the reality of God’s love
…the reality of forgiveness
…the reality of the new birth
…the reality of Heaven
…the reality of eternity
…the reality of future reunion
Years ago one of the American churches produced a film about missionary work in Angola entitled, I’ll Sing, Not Cry. It was based on the book, African Manhunt, by Monroe Scott, which recounted Christ’s victories in the lives of Africans. There was the story of Pastor Ngango (Nah-gone-go), whose beloved wife had dies. Great numbers came to the funeral, and they wailed in the customary pagan dirge of despair, until Pastor Ngango (Nah-gone-go) stood up by the casket and said, “Stop all this yelling and howling.” The mourners stood in shocked silence. “This woman was a child of God. She has gone to her Father. I loved her, but today we are not crying, we are singing.”
With that he started to sing, “Praise God,” and the Christians joined him. It was not a song of despair or fear or sadness. It was a praise to God, a song of Christ’s victory, a hymn of confidence. Across the centuries comes the theme “I’ll sing, not cry.”
Weeping may endure for the night. Our human emotions sometimes need a release. But joy comes in the morning!
An earthly light has gone out, but where ______________________ is, no earthly light is needed. The glory of God, shining brighter than the sun, is her radiance, and her face is now glistening in that glorious light!
So we come to the end of a journey; it is a good day. An earthly journey has ended. A heavenly residence has been established.
What is our hope?
What is our confidence?
What is our expectation?
1 Corinthians 15:50-56
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.