Faithlife Sermons

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Emotion
Anger
Disgust
Fear
Joy
Sadness
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Analytical
Confident
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Openness
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Anger
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The Bible frequently describes death as sleep.
OT kings were said to “sleep with their fathers.”
It’s a beautiful image in many ways.
It’s a beautiful image in many ways.
When his friend died, Jesus told his disciples “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep.”
It’s a beautiful picture...
it’s peaceful, describes the quiet rest of the body
it’s restful, describing how the body and soul are now at perfect rest from all labour and suffering
it isn’t final, describing the hope of being “woken up”
it’s restful, describing how the body and soul are now at perfect rest from all labour and suffering
And so this text provides a great comfort to Christian believers who are grieving for fellow believers who have fallen asleep.
Paul wrote because he knew that the Thessalonians were worried that those who died before Christ returned would miss the resurrection.
So he sought to give comfort by pointing to the certainty of the Christian hope.
It’s the hope we need to be reminded of this morning, as we grieve for our dear sister.
It was this hope that gave her such strength even when she was at her weakest.
And it is this hope that she would want for us to proclaim to one another, and for all of us to cling to in faith.
Two very simple points this morning.
We can have hope because Jesus died, and we can have hope because Jesus rose again.
Notice first Paul’s reason for writing: so that you don’t grieve like those who have no hope.
The rest of mankind.
And notice that Paul doesn’t say that we should not grieve.
He says that we should grieve in a certain way: with hope.
And he remarks that there are some (the rest) who grieve without hope.
What’s the difference between the two kinds of responses to death?
What is it that causes one group to have hope when loved ones die and the other to have no hope?
That’s what Paul goes on to explain.
Two very simple points this morning.
We can have hope because Jesus died, and we can have hope because Jesus rose again.
We can have hope because Jesus died
1 Thess 4:13-
We do not grieve like those who have no hope, because we believe that Jesus died.
It’s a strange thought that comfort in our grief comes from the death of another.
And yet Jesus’ death is unlike any other death in history.
What’s the difference between the two kinds of death?
What is it that causes one group to have hope in death and the other to have no hope in death?
That’s what Paul goes on to explain.
We can have hope because Jesus died.
Jesus’ death means (will mean) the end of death.
We die because we sin.
It is the curse given as a consequence of our rebelling against God who made us.
Our hatred of God ought to mean his eternal hatred of us...
ROm 4:6
Christ died for us, suffering for our sins.
Which means instead of condemnation there is salvation.
Instead of death there is life.
Instead of fear there is hope.
We believe Jesus died, so we can have hope.
For those who have believed and are now asleep.
For ourselves.
Do you have this hope?
It’s the hope that sustained Linda until the very end.
She was so confident that Jesus paid for her sin in full that she was able to face her final days without a trace of fear or uncertainty.
And this hope doesn’t come about because of something in us.
We can’t force ourselves to think enough positive thoughts so that we have the best kind of wishful thinking about what lies beyond death.
No this hope is fixed not on us but on Him, Jesus who died for our sin.
It’s objective.
Not subjective.
It is based on the fact of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, not on the feeling of the individual.
We have hope in the face of death because Jesus died.
Do you have this hope?
It doesn’t stop there.
In fact, if our hope did stop there it would be no hope at all!
We can have hope because Jesus rose again
Jesus’ death was not the end, and so we can have hope that our death is not the end either.
Again, this isn’t wishful thinking.
It’s based on the fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Rom 6:8
We can have hope because Jesus died rose again!
As Paul says, we are so united with Christ that whatever Christ does, his people follow.
Wherever Christ is, his people are there.
We can have
The truth about Christ, the fact of his death and resurrection, is inseparably tied to our future.
Christ died and rose again.
We can have
Wherever Christ is, his people are there.
Christ died and rose again.
So Christians who die (fall asleep) will rise again.
So Christians who die (fall asleep) will rise again.
Christ will return, and those who have died in him will return with him.
And so we can have hope.
Total hope.
And so we can have hope.
Total hope.
Elsewhere Paul said that he would prefer to be away from the body (absent from flesh) and at home with the Lord ().
Such confidence only comes when you look to Jesus in faith.
Looking anywhere else means that you will grieve like the rest who have no hope.
Every other world religion insists that their followers do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that.
And that if you keep as many rules as possible you might MIGHT gain some kind of reward, if the particular god is having a good day.
No hope!
Atheism says that we’re all here by accident, that there’s no meaning to life, there’s probably no god, so enjoy yourself.
Eat, drink and be merry.
Have the best possible time while you’re here, because when you’re gone you’re gone.
No hope!
If I look to myself, my merits, my good works, for some kind of assurance, what am I left with?
If I’m being honest with myself, if you’re being honest with yourself, it doesn’t leave any of us with any hope, does it?
Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.
The second is to love your neighbour as yourself.
That’s it.
That’s the standard.
Have you done that?
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