We are in a series that we are calling “We Are The Champions” where we are looking at some of the areas of life that we have been made champions over because of what Christ has done for us. These victories that we are talking about pertain to those who have placed their faith and trust into Jesus Christ and the work that He has done on our behalf.
Romans 8:37 says, “…in all these things, we are more than victorious through Him [Jesus] who loved us.” This love that Christ has loved us with is not one that is just in word only. It is backed up by action. Romans 5:8 tells us “God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Because God has chosen to demonstrate His love towards us, this has given us the victory over many areas that hold people captive in life.
This morning, I would like to follow up on last week’s message. Last week, we talked about how Christ has given us victory and made us champions over the sin in our lives. We talked about how each of us has sin in our lives. The Bible showed us that this sin actually gives us a return on the investment: death (Romans 6:23). This morning, I would like to take a look at how Christ has made us champions over death.
SOME FACTS ABOUT DEATH
As we get started, I would like to share with you some facts that I came across concerning death.
- There is a 100% mortality rate among the human race.
- This means that 10 out of every 10 people in the world will die one day.
- Death is one of the leading fears that humans have.
- No matter what survey you might look at, death is always in the top 10 of biggest fears among people.
WHY IS DEATH SO DREADED?
One of the biggest reasons that people have such a great fear of death is that it is so mysterious. Mystery has a way of instilling fear within us. When we do not know what the end result is on a situation, we are hesitant to go forward in it. There are not many people who can say that they have been through death and tell about it. They may have been some who have been at the point of death or had near-death experiences, but the testimony of those who have actually stepped across that final threshold and returned are few and far between.
Fear, especially the fear of death, can cripple a person’s life. This does not and should not be the case. Jesus said in John 10:10 that He has come to give us life to the fullest – one that is not crippled by fear, even the fear of death.
WHY SHOULD WE NOT FEAR DEATH?
In order to show why we do not have to fear death, I would like to look at some of the experiences that Jesus had with death.
- Luke 7:11-17 = The widow’s son
- Jesus and His disciples along with a large crowd were going about and come across the funeral of a widow’s only son. Jesus had compassion on the widow and raised her son back to life by the word of His mouth.
- Luke 8:49-56 = Jairus’ daughter
- Jairus was a synagogue leader whose daughter was deathly ill. He came to Jesus and asked if He would come to his house and heal her. On the way there, report came that the little girl died. Jesus continued on to the house where He once again brought life to a dead body through His words.
- John 11:38-44 = Lazarus
- Lazarus, one of Jesus’ best friends on earth, dies from some illness. As Jesus comes to where he is buried, Jesus calls Lazarus back from the dead – four days after his funeral.
We can see from these passages that Jesus is not a real fan of death. He recognizes that death is the result of sin that has come upon human beings, and that was not the original purpose for them.
We also see that the reason that Jesus came to earth in the first place was to confront death firsthand. As He came to the end of His earthly ministry, He was arrested, tried, convicted, and put to death on the cross – all according to Old Testament prophecies. Numerous times during His teachings, He spoke of “His time”. Confronting death face-to-face was “His time.” It was upon the cross that He broke the power of sin’s grasp. The only enemy left was death, and He conquered it three days after His crucifixion by rising from the grave Himself.
It is because of Jesus’ resurrection and defeat of death that we have victory over death. Because of the sin that is present in our lives, we will all have to face the death of this body one day. The real issue – and the power that fuels the fear of death – is what happens afterwards. Hebrews 9:27 says, “… it is appointed for people to die once – and after this, judgment”.
When God created us, He created us for eternity – to live forever. Sin entered the scene and caused two kinds of death: (1) physical – the death of our bodies, and (2) spiritual – the death of our souls. This spiritual death is not a ceasing to exist, but rather a separation from the blessings and goodness of God. If our sins are not paid for by the sacrifice of Jesus, then we will fall under the wrath of God. This is commonly known as hell.
Hell was not the intentions of God for human beings. Hell was created for Satan and the angels/demons that followed him in his rebellion (Matthew 24:41). But if a person rejects the gift of God provided through Jesus, they choose to reserve their place right alongside of them.
If a person has heard the call of Holy Spirit to come and receive the gift of God and answered that call, then death looks totally different. The gift of God is not only forgiveness of sins but also a new life and destination after this life is over. For the Christian, death is just a time of moving.
Paul writes in Philippians 1:21 that “For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.” How can Paul say that dying is gain? It is because he has come to realize that when Jesus defeated death by His resurrection, He also made every person who places their faith and trust in Jesus champions over death. When a Christian dies, they no longer have to deal with the sin, pain, and sorrow that are a part of this life. They move into the permanent residence that Christ Himself has been building for them since He left this earth.
John 14:2-3 says, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.”
It is no coincidence that Jesus was a carpenter for much of His earthly life. He is a master builder. When He left the earth, He went to build a place for those who would trust in Him, and He has promised that when this body dies, He will be there to take them to heaven to be with Him forever.
This is how He has made us champions over death. Will we have to face death one day? Yes, but it should not be something that cripples our life with fear. It is a moving into experiencing the glory of God like we can never imagine. When you look at death through this lens, both death and this life look completely different. We can say along with Paul, “living is Christ – learning more about Him and sharing His love with others – and dying is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
How do you view death? Is it something that brings fear to your heart, or is it something that is just a bridge to the permanent residence that Christ has made for you? We do not have to fear death. If we have a relationship with Jesus where He is our LORD and Savior, our death has already been defeated. Jesus Christ has provided the way for us to be champions over death. Will we live that way?