He was a professional thief.
His name stirred fear in the hearts of even the most rugged frontiersman as sure as the desert wind stirred the tumbleweeds.
From 1875 to 1883, he successfully held up twenty-seven Wells Fargo stagecoaches.
And as amazing as this is, he did so without firing a single shot.
Fear and intimidation.
When a stagecoach driver looked down and saw a man riding alongside whose face was entirely covered with a black hood, he knew he was about to be held up by Black Bart and that he was foolish to fight him.
In newspapers and journals from San Francisco to New York City, he was known as one of the most notorious bandits of all time.
Black Bart reminds me of another who haunts all of humanity, one who Jesus called a thief and a robber, a liar and a murderer (John 8:44).
His weapons, like Black Bart’s, consist of intimidation and fear—especially the fear of death…/ /
*The writer of Hebrews says* Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; 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 (Hebrews 2:14-15)
!! A. Man for the most part is not aware how close death is.
We somehow have a feeling that things are just going to continue on.
!!!! a) Death is something you read about in the newspapers that happens to someone else.
!!!! b) We do not think about death very often, and I don't think we should.
!!! 2. Occasionally it gets close as someone you have known personally, dies or is killed in an accident.
!!!! a) For a while we are shocked and we think how frail is the thread of life.
!!!! b) For a time we wonder about death, but we cannot tarry long with those thoughts for life goes on.
!!! 3. Then we have a close call with death.
!!!! a) Maybe we missed being hit by a speeding car by just inches, we thought for sure they were going to hit us, we cannot yet figure out how they missed.
!!!!! (1) Our hearts begin to pump faster as we think about how close we were.
!!!!! (2) I realize that there is but a step between me and death.
!!!! b) I realize that between life and death is often a matter of inches or seconds.
!!!! c) I realize that death can come suddenly and without warning.
!!! 4. Some think that death is the end, not true, death is just the beginning of eternal life.
!! B. How then should I live.
Some people live only for this life, without ever a thought of eternity.
!!!! a) All of their values are in this world only.
!!!! b) This is a sad mistake for life does not end at death.
!!!! c) God has intended that this life just be a preparation for eternity.
!!!! d) Jesus gave the parable of the rich farmer.
!!! 2. I should live as though this were my last day on earth, for who knows, it might be.
!!!! a) I have intended to let someone know how much I appreciate them but I have been putting it off.
!!!! b) I have planned to call them to tell them I love them and have been thinking of them.
!!!! c) Maybe the last time you shared their was tension over some issue, a slight strain when you parted, you said some harsh things you didn't really mean, you have been intending to call and apologize.
!!! 3. I should live in constant preparedness for eternity.
!!!! a) I should walk in a living trust in Jesus Christ.
!!!! b) I should live in fellowship with Him.
!! C. If I live in fellowship with Him I will never die.
The words of Jesus to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in Me though he were dead yet shall he live and he that liveth and believeth in Me shall never die."
!!! 2. The Bible teaches that the real me is spirit, that I live in this body, and possess a consciousness.
!!!! a) The body is not the real me, just the medium by which I can express me.
!!!! b) The body is temporal as a tent; I live it for a while.
!!!!! (1) I try to make it look as nice as I can, and take care of it so it will be a comfortable place to live.
!!!!! (2) All tents wear out and my tent is wearing out as is yours.
!!!!! (3) Mine is beginning to show visible signs of deterioration.
My little grand daughter pushes my chin down and begins to count my chins.
!!!!! (4) I have to worry about getting the top of my head sunburned.
!!!!! (5) I have to search for my glasses, in the morning; at least I don't have to search for my teeth yet.
!!!! c) One day my spirit is going to move out of this body.
I do not know what will occasion the move.
!!!!! (1) Maybe an accident, maybe disease.
!!!! d) The day I move out, I also move in, into my new body that God has prepared for me that the scripture likens to a mansion.
A building of God not made with hands eternal in the heavens.
!!!! e) This tent was made of the earth for the earth.
!!!! f) My new house will be made for the heavens.
!! D. Though it is true that you are just one step from death, it is equally true that you are just one step from life.
In Romans 10, Paul speaks of how close you are to salvation.
!!!! a) It is not way off in the Universe that we have to send out to bring it down to man.
!!!! b) It is not in the depths where as a lost treasure it is impossible to recover.
!!!! c) It is as close as your mouth, for if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
!!! 2. You are close to eternal life this very moment.
!!!! a) All that is necessary is for you to ask from your heart that Jesus Christ will take over your life.
!!!! b) Confess your sinful state to Him and ask Him to forgive.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
• *Attitude toward.*
• *Confronting and facing death and reviewing one’s life.*
§ 2 Tim.
• *Desire to depart and be with Christ.*
• *Fear of dying.*
§ John 6:17-19
• *Is gain to the believer.*
• *To be an attitude of hope, not despair.*
§ John 20:14-16