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Questions - suicide - reformation - cremation

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Matthew 27:3–5 KJV 1900
3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

You Asked for it

Three questions this evening.
What happens to Christians if they commit suicide?
Doe the Bible forbid cremation?
Should we celebrate the Reformation?

IF A CHRISTIAN COMMITS SUICIDE, WILL THEY STILL GO TO HEAVEN?

What about suicide

IF A CHRISTIAN COMMITS SUICIDE, WILL THEY STILL GO TO HEAVEN?
A. () - “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.”
() - “That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”
There are two main reasons why there is great confusion concerning suicide, and its affect on one’s salvation.
1. First, there is a misunderstanding concerning the death of Judas. It is clear that Judas did not go to heaven, as “his own place” would obviously mean a different place than the other apostles, meaning hell, not heaven.
a. But why did Judas go to hell?
b. It was not because he committed suicide, but rather because he was never saved!
c. To believe anything else is to contradict the biblical doctrine of the security of the believer!
) - “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Romans 8:38–39 KJV 1900
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
e. Paul is providing great detail that death (even suicide), nor things to come (such as suicide), or any creature including a suicidal person - can separate us from God’s love!
2. A second reason why there are many who think that suicide can send a person to hell, is because of the teaching of the Catholic church.
In past the Catholic church taught that suicide will result in the loss of one’s salvation. That would be refused a “christian burial”
Today they determine on a case by case basis if a person can receive what they deem a christian burial.
A recent statement by the church addressed the issue by saying that just because is refused a christian burial by the catholic church is by no means a judgement on that persons salvation.
3. Suicide, although a sin, and preempting God choice for your life, does not affect a persons salvation.

IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG CREMATING THE DEAD?

IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG CREMATING THE DEAD?
A. While the Bible does not forbid being cremated, it does have a few examples of how the body of a Christian is handled after death.
1. God buried the body of Moses!
) - “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.
Deuteronomy 34:5–6 KJV 1900
5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. 6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.
6 And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.”
2. Joseph was embalmed and his body preserved to be transported and buried in Canaan after the exodus.
) - “So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”
3. Jacob testified that the Hebrews buried the bodies of their deceased!
() - “In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a buryingplace.
31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.
32 The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein was from the children of Heth.
33 And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.”
4. The kings of Israel were all buried!
() - “And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.”
Today people who opt for cremation do so for financial reasons. A cremation will cost only a fraction of a traditional burial and transporting of a body. While cremation is not forbidden, it was the tradition in the Old Testament to opt for burial.
Today people who opt for cremation do so for financial reasons. A cremation will cost only a fraction of a traditional burial and transporting of a body.
However, the Bible seems to indicate that God=s preference for the treatment of the body is by burial. Since God created the body - and sustains it - He should also be the One who chooses how His creation is to be treated. As He buried the body of Moses, so should His people do with their loved ones.

SHOULD WE CELEBRATE THE REFORMATION?

October 31 2017 / (Oct 31 1517)
Five hundred years—the amount of time it’s been since Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door in Wittenberg—is hard to wrap our minds around. That’s over double our American history as a nation. It’s even longer than the children of Israel were in Egypt or the timespan between the Old and New Testaments.
But if it’s hard to fathom five hundred years, it’s harder still to fathom what our lives would look like today had the Reformation not taken place all those years ago.
Historically, Baptists were not Protestants (we existed before, during, and after the Reformation, as even early Baptist persecutors testified[1]), so I don’t trace my spiritual heritage to the Reformation. I do, however, recognize and thank God for the spiritual and historical significance of the Reformation.
In particular, God used the Reformers to break the political power of the Roman Catholic Church, bring widespread use of God’s Word and hearing of the gospel, and lead Europe out of the Dark Ages.
I’m aware of the theological and eschatological shortcomings of the Reformers. I know they were deeply flawed men and that some persecuted our Anabaptist forefathers. But the truth is all of us are flawed. The fact that God uses any of us is a testimony to His grace.
Because the Reformation literally changed the trajectory of history and because this month marks its five hundred-year anniversary, I’d like to focus on how God used some of its leaders.

John Wycliffe (1328–1384)

Called “The Morning Star of the Reformation,” Wycliffe is remembered for being the first to translate the Bible into English (from Latin). Even without the aid of a printing press, Wycliffe’s Bible was so widely distributed that, even after many copies were burned in Europe, today there are still 150 original manuscripts. His preaching so relied on Scripture that his followers were derisively called “Bible men.”
Wycliffe was so despised by the Roman Catholic Church that over forty years after he died, his body was dug up and his bones burnt. the River Swift in England where Wycliffe’s ashes were tossed. Although this action was meant as a desecration to Wycliffe’s remains and a warning to others, the spread of his ashes served as a picture of his influence which had already spread. With the Bible translated into the language of the people, it was too late to undo the knowledge of the truth.

John Huss (1369–1415)

Influenced by the writings of Wycliffe, John Huss was also a predecessor to the Reformation. Through studying Scripture, Huss discovered that salvation is only possible through faith in Christ’s payment for sin and, with strong biblical conviction, preached compelling sermons against works-based salvation. Because of his “heresy,” the Roman Church excommunicated him and later called him before a council in Constance, Germany, to stand trial. He was sentenced to being burned alive at the stake on July 6, 1415.
When his executioners chained him to the stake, Huss proclaimed, “My Lord Jesus Christ was bound with a harder ‘chain’ than this for my sake, and why then should I be ashamed of this rusty one?” Just before the flames were lit, the Duke of Bavaria urged him to recant his faith in Christ and retract his preaching. “No,” he replied, “what I taught with my lips I now seal with my blood.”

William Tyndale (1494–1536)

Tyndale’s great contribution was translating the Bible into English from Greek (rather than from the Latin Vulgate as Wycliffe had done). Attending Oxford and Cambridge, Tyndale was a brilliant scholar and a gifted linguist. The Tyndale translation of the New Testament was so precise, in fact, that 90 percent of our King James Version is directly from his work.
Tyndale’s most famous quote was spoken in response to a clergyman who, in opposition to Tyndale’s preaching, said,
“We had better be without God’s laws than the Pope’s.” Tyndale responded, “I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than thou dost!”
And we can all thank God that he did.

Martin Luther (1483–1546)

You almost can’t mention Luther without distancing yourself from some of his loudest and most egregious errors...
As is so often the case, however, these weaknesses in Luther were the underside of his strengths. And God used his strong, forceful personality to take on the greatest empire of his day—the religious empire of the Roman Catholic Church.
Although there were others who preached as Luther did (some even more closely to Scripture),
it was Luther whose Ninety-five Theses sparked the undeniable start to the Reformation. Interestingly, at the time of nailing his Ninety-five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg (which was used something like a community bulletin board),
Luther still had not discovered the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace. He was protesting the abuses of the clergy and rampant immorality of the church. He merely intended to start discussion, not a reformation.
It was the Pope’s reaction to Luther that pushed Luther to further Bible study, which resulted in his understanding of justification by faith alone.
Worms, Germany, where Luther was tried before the Diet of Worms. After days of questioning, Luther refused to recant his writings (except any that could be proven false from Scripture).
His final and famous response was, “Here I stand. I can do no other. May God help me. Amen.” He was condemned and went into hiding. During his period of hiding, Luther translated the Bible into German, which was one of his greatest legacies and most enduring influences.

John Knox (1513–1572)

The most famous quote about John Knox was from Mary, Queen of Scots: “I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.” And the most famous quote by Knox is, “Give me Scotland, or I die.”
That both of these quotes represent his prayer life—one about his prayers and another from his prayers—says something of the depth of his dependence on prayer.
Knox, like many of the other Reformers, was a Catholic priest who discovered the gospel through the study of Scripture.
When he began preaching salvation by grace alone, the Bible as sole authority, and against Catholic mass and purgatory, he was imprisoned to French galley ships. Eventually he was released, went to England, and later back to Scotland. It was there that he led the Protestant Reformation in Scotland.

What Should We Celebrate in the Reformation?

The battle cry of the reformation was - Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone
But, it is true that most of the Reformers did not go far enough in their conviction of Sola Scriptura.
[How else do you explain their continued use of sacraments and their development of Protestant (Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian) state churches? Even Wycliffe remained Catholic until the day of his death. (He died of a stroke while he was saying Mass.)]
So if the Reformers are not our Baptist forefathers, what from their lives or from the Reformation should we celebrate?
We should thank God for their courage.
We should celebrate the accessibility of Scripture.
We should thank God for their courage. The Reformers willingly lived hard lives, enduring ridicule, exile, poverty, and often martyrdom, to courageously defend their beliefs. And God used them to reshape Europe—politically and spiritually.
For the fact that God sovereignly uses imperfect men—during the Reformation or otherwise—I will always be thankful.
We should celebrate the accessibility of Scripture. That Wycliffe, Luther, and Tyndale all translated God’s Word into common languages is no coincidence with the widespread impact of their lives.
The “Dark Ages” were indeed a spiritually dark time. It was the inaccessibility of Scripture by common people that led to such darkness. And it was the propagation of Scripture that led to spiritual light.
Although I disagree with some of the Reformers’ theology, for every element of biblical truth they did bring to light, I’m grateful.
And for the fact that we have God’s Word in our language, I’m beyond grateful.
Movements and men rise and fall. Legacies fade. Histories are forgotten. But God’s Word endures:
Isaiah 40:8 KJV 1900
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: But the word of our God shall stand for ever.
“For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” ().

Summary

Summary
As always the goal is make decisions based on the truth of scripture.
That is the MAIN IDEA for tonight and of this entire series - when you have a question - Get the BIBLE perspective!

Prayer

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