We live in a time when there is great fascination about life after death. Death when it comes is irreversible and wins the battle every time. Death is only a natural part of life and that death whether planned or accidental, whether comfortable or painful will be the end of life. Death is not respectful of persons.
Death brings the chance to explore the meaning of love and life. Each death brings a unique dimension for every one – family members, care-givers and even health-care providers – to review priorities and explore the meaning of life.
Socrates said ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’ and this may be applied to death as well.
Recently, people were asked to pen their thoughts, dreams and even aspirations before they die. It aimed to get people to think about end-of-life issues like what sort of care they would like, what arrangements should be made and how they feel about dying.
Yes, it is pertinent that family members understand each other’s concerns when it comes to dying, be it funeral arrangements and inheritances, or whether or not to put a loved one on life support following a bad accident or even brain injuries.
It is all right to start thinking and talking about how you want to be cared for, how your funeral will be like. This is to demystify death as death is certain while life is full of uncertainties. When we start thinking and talking about end-of-life issues, it would and should be impactful to make one ponder what life is all about and what we want out of life.
So the question really is not how we want to die but how we ought to live our lives – and to live our lives to the fullest and purposefully! What happens after you die depends on what happens before you die (Heb 9:27 – it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment).
Before we reach end-of-life issues, we need to begin to think about what’s important in our lives and share them with our family members and friends.
We have just finished the study on Job and the climax is at chapter 28 where we learned that wisdom comes from God. Only God can truly know the best way to live within His creation since He is the Creator of everything. True wisdom is therefore to fear the Lord (Job 28: 28). In other words, the best way to negotiate this life is by living in reverent submission to the One who made us.
We know that in life, we face a lot of uncertainties, problems, frustrations, difficulties and even sufferings and many other things (more unpleasant than pleasant things), we learned from Job that true wisdom is not a matter of knowing why all these happen, rather true wisdom is a matter of knowing the God who knows why these happen.
The appropriate way to approach all these things is therefore not to seek an explanation, but to seek to know God better through these ‘bad’ experiences – for knowing God is definitely better than to know why all these things happen. There are times (many many times) in this life when we wish God would tell us more about what is going on, but God never does; and it is very frustrating but that’s just the way life is.
It is therefore my prayer that all of us know about God and know God personally; and if anyone of us among the congregation who have yet to know God personally, I pray that you will know Him soon without further delay – ‘I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation’ (2 Cor 6:2).
The book of Job revolves around the idea that if we want to live this life to the full, it is not a matter of knowing why things happen; instead it is a matter of knowing the God who knows why things happen. The wisest person cannot necessarily explain why everything in life happens, but the wise (God-given wisdom) person is in a right relationship with God. So do not try to figure out the meaning and the mystery of each event that happens, for none of us may ever fully understand. Allow me to reiterate, the wise way to live is not by knowing why everything happens, because we will never and ever achieve that. The way through the struggles and changes of life is to know the God who knows everything and the way to negotiate life is to know Jesus Christ!
‘Life is very complicated. Don’t try to find ANSWERS to everything because when you find answers LIFE changes the QUESTIONS.’
So the question to ‘Why is this happening to me?’ is best responded as “since this is happening to me, how can I use it to know God better through Jesus Christ!” It is about staying close to God and trusting Him for every situations and in every circumstances.
The just concluded study on Titus challenges us and motivates us to live a life of Godliness. We are reminded that our beliefs about God impact every decision we make.
The gospel and true knowledge of God lead us to live a life of godliness (Titus 1:1-2); and that is its very character.
The grace of God that has saved us through the death of Jesus Christ also trains us in how we should live. Our salvation is not an end in itself. It is but the first stage in a whole new life, a life lived for God rather than for ourselves. A life from God is a life for God!
The book of Titus teaches us important things about living as Christians. It teaches us that Christianity is not simply a body of doctrine, nor merely a code of morality. It is a relationship with God, initiated and established by God, based on a true knowledge of Him, a knowledge that leads to a radically changed life; and this is the path to godliness. We need to make sound doctrine (true knowledge of God) a priority in our lives as well as others (by living godly lives and demonstrating godly values) for nothing is more significant than a solid foundation in Christ; and more motivational than grace to live a life of good deeds. Perhaps we should make an intentional attempt to read the entire Bible as the Bible will reveal to us more on living out our Christian life.
The Bible classifies the whole human race into 2 broad categories – the save and the lost. The saved are those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The lost are those who have not. So what happens to the saved is radically different from what happens to the lost. To find out more, you might like to fill up the response slip on page 2 of the worship bulletin or make an intention to attend either the New Discovery Class or the Foundation Class or both the classes. Alternatively, you might also like to consider attending a Cell Group – see details on the Cell Group Ministry on the last page of the worship bulletin.
Dearly Beloved, one question still remains. How can you personally face your own death with confidence?
If you know Jesus, you have nothing to fear when death knocks at your door. Death comes to all of us—it will come for you one of these days. Do you know Jesus? If so, then you need not live in fear. Death may be quick or slow, painful or painless, but when the moment comes, you will find yourself ushered into heaven where you will see Jesus face to face.
We have nothing to fear in the moment of death for when the time comes, Jesus will personally usher us into his presence for He has said “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25).
If you believe in Jesus, you will never die. What an amazing promise. But believers die every day. Yes, but for the believer, death is merely the passing from this life with all its sorrows into life eternal in the presence of our Lord. The question is not: What happens when we die? But rather: What will happen when you die?
For the believer, death is the doorway to heaven. For the unbeliever, it is a passageway into unimaginable suffering. These things are true even if we do not fully understand them. They are true even if we don’t believe them.
What happens when you die depends on what happens before you die. Here is my final word to you before I die: Make sure you are ready to die so that when the time comes, you will not be surprised by what happens next.
Really, really, may I ask you one more question before I die – What is the most eternally profitable way you can spend your remaining days?
May God help us and grant us HIS WISDOM to live our lives wisely (Col 4:5) and HIS GRACE (Rom 5:1-5; Heb 4:16; 1 Cor 15:10) to sustain us and see us through each and every moment of our lives.