II Corinthians 5:8-9 (NKJV) We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
What happens to believers when they die? They go straight into the presence of God. The Bible says in today’s reading that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (see II Corinthians 5:8). The Apostle Paul understood this when he said he had “a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23). How do you view death? How do you understand death of your loved ones?
In the Bible when Stephen was being martyred for his Faith in God, he was given a glimpse of glory. In (Acts 7) we read, “But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ ” (verses 55–56). Can you believe this reading people of God? the Lord was giving Stephen a standing ovation!
Then we are told in (Acts 6:15) that Stephen’s face became as bright “as the face of an angel.” Here he was seeing over to the other side. Stephen radiated God’s glory, with this understanding I feel a sense a comfort concerning the death of the love ones in my family, parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. Please read carefully Stephen raidated the glory of God like an angel but he was not angel. We are not angels nor do we turn into angels, we are redeemed people of God meaning we are transformed from mortal to immortal (Read more in I Corinthians 15:50-58). Angels can’t be redeemed.
When the great evangelist D. L. Moody was on his deathbed, his last words were, “Is this dying? Why, this is bliss. There is no valley. I have been within the gates. Earth is receding; heaven is opening; God is calling; I must go.” Then Moody breathed his last breath. I don’t mean to sound morbid but when we die in the Lord, we are dying to live again (which is the name of one of my wife’s Robin Baker play’s, “Dying to Live”). In otherwords being redeemed represents that once we die in relationship with God, that gives us the power to be resurrected from the dead. So we are literally dying to live again, that’s a glimpse of glory shared in today’s word!
It comforts me to think that when my Mom Shirley Baker left this world, she was carried by angels into God’s presence. I believe this with all of my heart. And I believe that is true of all people of God when their lives on earth come to an end. I pray today’s message brings comfort to you and your family if you are experiencing a sense of depression, despair, because of the death of your love ones.
Point to ponder- When, as a believer, you leave this world, you will be carried by angels into the presence of the Lord and will be there with Him. If we could see only imagine how glorious it is, I am sure it would change everything about us. The message of the new life for child of God after death is only shared at funerals and when people die. But today we are sharing this message as an encouragemet for those of us who are in Christ, and for those of us who are praying for people in our lives to accept Christ.
Prayer of Comfort- Lord of Comfort, we pray for your healing Hand to touch those reading today’s message in a special way as they reconcile the mystery of death in the way you have authorized death for the child of God, In Jesus name Amen!
Passage of Comfort – I Thessalonians 4:13 (NKJV) But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.[b]15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. Now this is the word of the Lord people of God, thanks be to God!
Pastor James Baker, Jr.