We live in an uncertain, dangerous and rapidly changing world. With continuing unrest and conflict in the Middle East as well as the global threat of terrorism, life has never been so uncertain. It can be taken from us at any moment. This should be a sobering reminder to us all that we should be ready for what will eventually come to all of us as human beings – death. Only an ostrich puts its head in the sand and pretends things aren’t real.
During our lives many words are spoken, listened to or read. The majority are forgotten!! Yet some expressions have a lasting and deep impression on us.
A Christian friend recently died peacefully, speaking the following words from Psalm 23 – his last words: “I will dwell, I will dwell” in the house of the Lord forever. He had the assurance of his sins forgiven by God. He was joyfully anticipating being ‘absent from the body and to be present with the Lord Jesus in heaven’ forever, which is so much better than all the trials and sorrows of this world. For him death was not a leap into the unknown darkness but a reality that it was better on ahead. Could you face death so calmly and with such quiet confidence? Not everyone can because they are not prepared.
How different it is for someone who doesn’t believe in God. After 72 years on earth, the dying words of Thomas Paine, an infidel (one who doesn’t believe in God) were – “Oh Lord, help me! O God, what have I done to suffer so much? But there is no God! But if there should be, what will become of me hereafter? Stay with me, for God’s sake. Send even a child to stay with me, for it is hell to be alone. If ever the devil had an agent, I have been that one.”
What makes the difference between Thomas Paine and my Christian friend? – The Lord Jesus Christ and the assurance of sins forgiven! It may be easy to live without Christ, but it is hard to die without Christ as your Saviour. Without Christ and without hope!
No Christ – No Hope.
Know Christ – Know Hope.
Not one of us knows the day or the hour when death will take us, are you ready?
Christians dying peacefully is not new. Charles Wesley died in 1788, the year Australia was settled by Europeans. His last words were spoken in triumph, “I shall be satisfied with Thy likeness! Satisfied! Satisfied! Oh my dearest Jesus, I come.”
However, none of the words of men and women are as important as the last words of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of the seven sayings from the cross, on which He was crucified, I will draw your attention to two of them. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, spoken of those that falsely accused, condemned and crucified him. And at the end of six hours on the cross, He could say “It is finished.” John 19:30. What important words are these to you and to me. What was finished? The work that God the Father had given Him to do was completed! What was that work? It was the work of redemption whereby God can offer salvation and the forgiveness of sins to anyone who will trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ purchased eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9) so God can offer it to you as a free gift, without money or good works but simply by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
For some life may be one big party, enjoying every minute; or so they try to portray to others. However, we all have some quiet times when we can reflect and consider the questions: ‘Why am I here? Where am I going when this life ends?’ Many people today, especially males and teenagers, are coming to the conclusion that life is not worth living and want to end all the suffering by committing suicide. But is death the end of it all? An important word from the Bible to you is “Rejoice, O young man in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgement.” Ecclesiastes 11:9.
Perhaps you are not like this but are more interested in making as much money as you can, irrespective of other people. Is the popular, self-centred attitude of ‘me first’, your attitude? An important word from the Bible for you would be “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36.
What about a word for the religious person who is an asset to the community, sincere in your belief, faithfully supporting the church, whose word can be trusted? You are depending on all these good works to take you to heaven and the Bible says to you “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” Ephesians 2:8-9.
“As He spake these words, many believed on Him” (John 8:32). We do trust you too will believe on Christ and have eternal life?