The Gift of Death
Heaven and Hell • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 37:32
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No one comes to the Bible in a vacuum. We all have preconceived notions of what heaven will be like. Some of you are comfortable in your notions and some of you are not.
As we started last week talking of heaven did you ask yourself where did your preconceived notions come from?
The Bible is the most obvious answer but if we are honest and really look it is usually more complicated than that. Your parents, media in all its different forms, teachers, pastors or priest, traditions passed down all have an influence on how you study if you have ever studied heaven in the Bible and your understanding of those studies. No one comes in a vacuum. Things like Dante’s Divine Comedy influences generations. Our past religious ideology, and denominations.
When we talk about heaven many of us have this kind of view in mind where we have our earthly life and there is some kind of moment in your life where you come to believe in Christ. At the time of death (black line) there is this juncture do you know the password, or have you ABC. If you have then you go to heaven if you haven’t you go to hell. This is the traditional view. Some of you are no I don’t because you really don’t, some of you are like whats wrong with that.
How many of you don’t raise your hand would say this is what you believe or how you were raised?
This is how I was raised and it isn’t bad it just isn’t complete
This here is a more complete view of life according to the scripture and will be what the next few sermons will be on. As we travel through the ideas here. So you will see this again. I am thankful to Dr. Tim Mackie in Exploring MY Strange Bible for creating this image.
Life began before you and to understand eternal life, heaven and hell we must look at life before you. If we want a Biblical view of heaven then we must turn to the beginning.
26 And God said, “Let us make humankind in our image and according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of heaven, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every moving thing that moves upon the earth.” 27 So God created humankind in his image, in the likeness of God he created him, male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of heaven, and over every animal that moves upon the earth.”
This is important God created humankind to be the image of himself. The word here for image is the word that is used for Idol or statue. God created a physical representation of the king do the world, himself. and he did that in Humans. Humans are the royal representatives of the creator called to oversee the flourishing of God's world. That is both male and female. In their diversity through there unity they were the image of God. It takes both male and female to reflect God.
7 when Yahweh God formed the man of dust from the ground, and he blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And Yahweh God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.
Humans are dust and divine breath. All living things have the breath of life but only mankind did God blew the diving breath. We are not three separate parts that can be separated. In the Hebrew it is Nephesh, that what makes you you. One author put it this way Humans do not have souls; humans are souls.
God planted them in a garden. This is the the abode of God this is the image of Heaven. Where God is.
15 And Yahweh God took the man and set him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to keep it. 16 And Yahweh God commanded the man, saying, “From every tree of the garden you may freely eat, 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.”
Mankind was given a choice. These trees are about choice. Do I trust the creator or do I think I can rule in my own way.
No we know what happens they think that they can be like God in a different way one their own terms and not trust the creator and sin. We all have these choices in our lives. Some you will choose correctly and some you will not.
But the truth of this that trust and obedience results in life. This will be a theme that will continue throughout the whole of the Scripture. Trust and obedience results in life. Rebellion results in death.
Death is a separation of what was never intended to be separated.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed together fig leaves and they made for themselves coverings.
Relational death: Isolation and fear of others
1 And you, although you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience,
Spiritual death: Moral and spiritual separation from God. Separation from the image maker
19 By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, until your return to the ground. For from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Physical Death: a schism between the material and immaterial
Sin of all type cause a separation from what we are designed to be. We are created to be the image of God and when sin enters into the equation in creates a need for physical death.
22 And Yahweh God said, “Look—the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil. What if he stretches out his hand and takes also from the tree of life and eats, and lives forever?” 23 And Yahweh God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So he drove the man out, and placed cherubim east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming, turning sword to guard the way to the tree of life.
God as a gift gave us death. A death that wasn’t in the plan. Mankind was to have eternal life being the image of God. But because of God’s mercy in our sin he gave us the gift of death. How many of us think of death this way. Sin caused a separation between the material and the immaterial as we will die. But it is because of Gods grace that this happens. It is because of this we have hope for the future that we are not stuck in our sinful, fallen, corrupt states. But we have hope of a new heave and a new earth with new body. Where we can be the image of God.
As we are fallen it is easy to say what does it matter but yet through the blood of Jesus Christ we are called to be the image of God. Through is blood his righteousness on us and we are called to the kingdom of God. We are re-imaged and created for God.
Are you being the image of God
Death is not easy and never will be. Do we understand the gift of death
God loves you and shows his mercy upon you. Rejoice even if you don’t understand.
Ingram, Chip, and Lance Witt. The Real Heaven: What the Bible Actually Says. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2016.
Alcorn, Randy. Heaven. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum, 2011.
Moody, D. L. Heaven: Where It Is, Its Inhabitants, and How to Get There. Chicago: Fleming H. Revell, 1884.
Hayes, Zachary J., Clark H. Pinnock, and John F. Walvoord. Four Views on Hell. Edited by Stanley N. Gundry and William Crockett. Zondervan Counterpoints Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996.