The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ask A Pastor: What Happens When We Die?

August 19, 2007

from Psalm 139 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ." – 1 Corinthians 15:57

My sermon outline:

• Think about your first experience with death. Anybody willing to share? Think about when a friend loses a loved one, what do you do? What do you say?

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying Nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes. One of the powerful things about death is that there is nothing we can do about it, it is not under our control, and we hate not being in control. You can define death scientifically, you can discuss it philosophically, you can read books about it or watch movies about it, but it remains surrounded by a shroud of mystery. In addition to that, death is connected to a number of other questions and phenomena, as indicated on the cover of your bulletins. What happens when we die? What about the idea of reincarnation? What about people who have died and come back (NDE’s), what about OOBEs? What about people who claim to talk to the dead?

• Let’s start with what we know: it is inescapable; it will happen to every one of us; it’s a fact of life.

• Christians believe there is life beyond death, that there is something about us, an individual soul or spirit which lives on. Christians vary on some of the specifics, but in general it is believed that this soul, created by God, is immortal; that after death this part of us remains conscious; and that we in fact are endowed with some kind of new body.

For the faithful, in addition to receiving peace and rest, that soul remains in God’s presence forever, which is very desirable.

(See Philippians 1:21-26: "For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.")

• The Christian POV turns the certainty of death into a promise of good to come, but death is a power that did not always hold such promise, since it is generally regarded as payment for sin. (or the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23)

• reincarnation: what is it, non-Christian implications (recycled soul, not redeemed)

• So in death, our souls remain alive and conscious... Can we talk to the dead?
Possible, not to be entertained lightly, also a number of scriptures that point out to avoid mediums (those who communicate with the dead). : “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:31 a few verses later God equates the practice with prostitution.

There are spiritual powers that are unwise to mess with. Paul writes in Ephesians 6 about the ways to battle those powers. Not to be taken lightly.

• Can the dead talk to us? I won’t say no. Personal story.

• Skipped hell. I’ll talk about that next week.

• Story of the three trees: their hopes were all related to their afterlife...

• Death is real and it is powerful, but viewed from the Christian POV, it brings life.

• Hymn 377 It Is Well With My Soul (Horatio Spafford wrote in 1873 after the at-sea death of his four daughters)

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 47 in worship. Cool.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pastor Bart: Sounds like something I would ask you I really found this to be interesting andd yet something iI can relate too

8:00 PM  

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