The Way Men Die ~ John 8.21-24
The Way Men Die
Text: John 8.21-24
Introduction: The context of the verses I want to bring to your attention begins in verse 12, when Jesus makes that momentous statement, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” But the affect that it had on these Jews was to question Him, ridicule Him, try to trap Him. They rejected Him and reacted so violently to him they tried to stone Him at the end of the chapter. This is the problem of the entire human race even to this day. Though the Son of God has come into this world, though Christ has come and offered everything that we need, offering light, knowledge, understanding, reconciliation with God, peace with our fellow man and to abolish war; though He offers what we need to live our lives in power and holiness, though He has offered all that ~ Mankind has rejected and refused Him.
This is the great problem. He has offered everything we need and yet men reject Him. Why have men done this? Why have men rejected the Light and chosen to live in darkness? Why is there anyone in the world who is not a Christian? The ultimate explanation why anyone would refuse Christ is a failure to realize the inevitable consequences of rejecting Christ – the consequences of rejecting Christ. What are the consequences of rejecting this offer? “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Did you notice that? The Light of Life, everything we need, He has offered. Yet men have rejected Him? What are the consequences of this rejection? The consequences of rejecting Christ are not thought about, are they? What are the consequences of rejecting Christ? It is what Jesus is talking about in verse 21 and 24: The consequence of rejecting Christ affects the way in which men die.
I want to speak to you on one of the most important issues of life and that is death. It is a question of grave importance to each and every one of us, the question of death! How will you die? Have you ever thought about how you will die? Jesus tells these Jews who reject Him, “You will die in your sin.” Our Lord judges this as extremely important so He says it three times! “You shall die in your sins.” The matter is desperately serious. He is saying this to them, “The way in which you are going to die is something that is fundamentally affected by your reaction to who I am, what I say and what I offer to you.” I want to speak to you under this topic – The Way Men Die – The Way Men Die.
The most awful thing of sin, the most terrible thing sin has done is affect the way men think. The popular belief is to be religious is to not think, but the Bible demonstrates that the opposite is true. How are you going to die? I know your first reaction is, “How awful, how morbid a thought!” Indeed, it is an event that we choose not to discuss or think about. But it is of utmost importance and let me tell you why. Here is Christ saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” And yet, men refuse to think about it. And this is the first thing I would say about the Way Men Die: Men simply do not think about the issue of death.
I. The way in which men die is of utmost importance and yet some don’t think about it at all.
How will you die? The way in which we die is the single most important question we will ever deal with for these reasons:
a. The first reason I say the way we die is so important is it is something that is going to happen to every one of us. It is an absolute certainty. No matter who you are, you are going to die! Whether we are successful or failures, rich or poor, healthy or sick, intelligent or ignorant, married or single; whatever state we are born into, every one of us will die! It is unavoidable. It is inevitable. It cannot be evaded. Do whatever you want; you will never escape your appointment with death. It is why I say that the way you die is of utmost importance.
b. Second, everything in this world will come to an end. Now people show no interest in this issue. We live as though nothing comes to an end. But the athlete turns around and he can no longer throw as far as he once could. The actress is not as beautiful as she first was. I was told of a man who was 6 foot, 200 pounds and cancer took his body over he was quickly down to 100 pounds. The pain got so intense; they had to sever his spinal cord to relieve him of the pain. This is important, because so many people have their interest in various things, but whatever their interest may be in, it will come to an end.
c. Another reason for the utter importance of this question is that death is a one time event, something we only do once. There is no 2nd chance. We tell our children, “If first you don’t succeed, try, try again;” but in this thing of dying, there are no more tries. It happens only once. I have heard that many of today’s successful business men have failed more times than they have succeeded. There are no 2nd chances. You only die once. “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…” Something that can only be done once would be considered of great importance. This is common sense. If I have many chances at something, I will not give it much attention.
Have you ever considered the way in which you will die? It is a question most men refuse to give any thought to.
II. The way men think about death is wrong thinking.
The way men generally face the question of Death is sheer folly and wrong thinking.
a. The first way in which most men face the question of Death is theoretically and detached, as if it were something outside of them. They have an opinion about it just like they have an opinion about politics, but they only look at it casually. The problem with this is that none of us are detached and simply onlookers like we are watching the ball game at home and uninvolved and unaffected. Many people treat God as their favorite sports team. We are involved. It determines our eternal destiny. True religion is not just philosophical like answering some political or social question. Religion is just philosophy. The question of the price of gas and food – now that is going to affect me, but religion is just an opinion. But, have you considered everything in the light of the fact that you are going to die? Do you realize that the question of Jesus Christ and who He is, is not just theoretical?
b. Another way in which men face the question of Death is in the wrong way. That is, they understand that death is coming to all men, but they understand death wrongly.
1. One group thinks death is just the final calamity. It is just the end of living. There is nothing else after death. It is the end of everything. And their approach to death is they do not want to hear about it. “Don’t spoil my fun with such morbid thoughts.” So, they put it out of their minds.
2. Another group sees death as living like they did here. Some are serious about death as Spiritualists. These are the ones who have séances and supposedly get in touch with dead love ones. Their loved ones have told them that the other side is just like it is here. You just go on living. But you get a trivialized view of this with heroes who have died and they say, “He is driving on the big race track in the sky.” It is the idea that nothing really changes. Don’t worry about it.
3. Another group and this is probably the most popular are fixated on the mode of death. I just want to go in my sleep. We all are frightened by the mode. No one wants to be burned to death or starved, exterminated, blown-up or killed in some horrific accident. I had a fellow recently tell me that the best way to die is drowning. I asked him, “Well, who do you ask?” The affect of sin has us thinking about the mode of death more than the fact of death. The problem is when the mode overrides the fact of death.
Have you ever faced the fact of death itself? Are you concerned about the fact of death or is it just the mode of death that concerns you the most? In other words, if we let the mode of death overshadow the fact of death, we are not facing up to the reality of death coming.
We have seen that Sin has so greatly affected man’s thinking concerning death, that he doesn’t think about it at all; second, that he thinks about it wrongly – but the ultimate problem with man is that he fails to think about death in the right way.
III. Men fail to think about death in the right way.
a. Jesus says it three times over, “You shall die in your sins.” Why does He repeat it? Why does He say it this way? Because ultimately, the way to think about death and it is the Spiritual way to think of death. There is only one thing that matters in this thing of death and that is the condition of a man’s soul when he dies. In other words, according to the Lord Jesus, there are only two ways of dying. This is what He is teaching; there are only two ways of dying. What are they? What are these two ways of dying?
b. You say, Is it that I will die of a heart attack? Is it that I will die of cancer? Is it that I will die in a horrific accident? Will I burn to death or will I drown to death? It is none of these! These are all physical. Jesus is teaching that what matters is the state of a man’s soul when he dies. And here He says, you will die in your sins or you will die in the Lord. He says, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” And Revelation 14.13 says, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…” Two men die of cancer, one in his sins and one in the Lord. Two women die in their old age, one in her sins and one in the Lord.
IV. The Two ways to die
You will either die in your sins or you will die in the Lord.
a. “You will die in your sins” What does it mean to die in your sins?
1. For a man to die in his sins means that he dies not knowing what is happening to him. All the pleasures and things he once lived for and enjoyed he is now too weak to enjoy. He cannot lust for them. He can’t gorge himself in them.
2. Worse than that, he is loaded with awful feeling of guilt and condemnation. He knows he has transgressed the law. He knows he has been a fool. He has lived all his life for the present and now present is past and all is left is future. Glimpses of hell flash before him and he knows he deserves it. Heaven appears before him but he knows he is unfit and unclean to go there.
3. He is totally unprepared and utterly helpless. All his life is this sin that he must now pay for. Who can help him? He cannot help himself. He is too weak to do anything and is fast to eternity. His family can’t help him. They are totally ignorant of what is about to transpire. His friends cannot help him; they are still living the same kind of life.
He never made preparation, totally unprepared, ignorant of where he is going and yet going through it. That is the way men die in their sins. I am not here to scare you. I am asking you if you know how you will die. How will you die?
b. The only alternative to dying in your sins is dying in the Lord. Revelation 14.13 “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” What is it like for those who die in the Lord? David says in Psalm 37: “Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace.”
1. He is a man who has thought about death. You have to be a man who has thought about death in order to be a Christian. He knows what to expect. He know that this earth is not his home. He has a place prepared for him. He knows that he is on a earthly pilgrimage.
2. He doesn’t die alone. The Lord Jesus described it this way, “Lazarus died and the angels carried him into Abraham’s bosom.” What a beautiful picture! Angles carry him through.
3. He’s not alone: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life...shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “I shall never leave you or forsake you.”
4. He knows that he sinned, but he knows that he has been forgiven and that Jesus died for him and now there is no condemnation. “Come you Blessed of the Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thou Lord.” “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless…before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.”
What does it matter if you are blown up in an explosion or die in your sleep? It is your soul that matters! If you are in the Lord, you can say with Paul, to die is gain! This is why you should listen to the Light of the World. How are you going to die? It is either one or the other. There is no third choice. You will either die in your sins or you will have joy everlasting, dying in the Lord.
Abide with me- fast falls the eventide, the darkness deepens – Lord, with me abide.
Jesus Lover of My Soul, let me to Thy bosom fly, while the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high! All my trust on Thee is stayed all my help from Thee I bring.
Are you to die in your sins? Or Will you die in the Lord?