KNOWING CHRIST AS THE DESTROYER OF DEATH
A Sermon By Wayne Camp
SCRIPTURE: I Cor. 15:21-26
TEXT: I Cor. 15:26; Rev. 1:4
INTRO: In the last three messages we have seen the conquests of Jesus Christ. In the first we saw him as the conqueror of Satan who has the power of death. In the second we saw him as the overcomer of the world. In the third we saw him as the one having the keys of hell and death. Now in this message, we will consider the subject, Knowing Christ as the Destroyer of Death.
In our first text Paul declares the destruction of death as the destruction of the last enemy. In the second, John writes, Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
The last enemy which shall be destroyed is death. What a day that will be. And, the one who shall destroy death is the Lord Jesus Christ.
In this message I will call your attention to the fact that Death is a Terrible Enemy. Then we will look at the fact that Death is Destined for Destruction. Finally, we will note some reasons Why Death is the Last Enemy to be Destroyed.
I. DEATH IS A TERRIBLE ENEMY
A. The enmity of death lies first in its cause which is sin. Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
B. The enmity of death is seen in the fact that men will give all they have to try to escape its clutches; it seems to be a law of our nature to do such.
1. This was the claim made by Satan in Job 2:4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
2. The men on the ship with Paul were willing to risk many other dangers in their effort to escape immediate death. Acts 27:17-20 Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. 18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; 19 And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. 20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
C. The enmity of death is seen in the fact that death is considered the ultimate punishment for crimes.
1. The ten commandments carried a death penalty.
2. The term second death is used to describe the eternal abode of the unsaved. Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
D. The enmity of death is seen in the fact that we have an inner instinct that makes us fear death because we know it flows from out sinfulness.
E. The enmity of death is evident from the ravages it has brought to the human race.
1. There is no family that has not felt its sting many times.
a. Before Ruth and I were 20 years of age, death had visited our home and taken away our first son.
b. Most of the generation older than she and I have all been taken by death.
c. Death is no respecter of persons, it takes young and old, rich and poor, righteous and wicked, king and convict, president and pauper.
2. There is not town nor city without its cemeteries.
3. There is hardly a body of water of any size that has not served as a watery grave for one or many victims of death.
4. As for as history is concerned there are only two men who have escaped death--Enoch and Elijah.
F. Death is the common enemy of all men, be they prophet or profligate, be they righteous or reprobate.
G. Death is a subtle enemy, lurking everywhere, even in the most harmless things.
1. He may be lurking in the food we eat and the water we drink.
2. He sometimes rides with us in our car, a completely unnoticed passenger until he strikes at some intersection.
3. He rides the clouds and sails the waters and is perfectly at home in the fire or in the snowstorm.
4. He has, more than once, sat in a church pew and reached out his stinger and taken a brother or sister.
5. He climbs on the mountains and he goes into deep places such as mines and wreaks his havoc.
H. Death is an enemy none of us can or will escape unless Christ returns soon. Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
1. It is a divinely determined judgment for sin that these bodies must return to dust unless Christ intervenes by coming again. Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
2. Barring the second coming, our bodies will be like spilled water in the ground. 2 Samuel 14:14 For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.
3. We all have a boundary, a determined number of days on this earth and we cannot pass over that boundary. Job 14:5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass.
4. Death is appointed for all the living. Job 30:23 For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living. Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
5. There is no way we can escape the grave unless Jesus takes us up before death brings us down. Psalm 89:48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.
I. Before I leave this point let me say to any who are lost, death is a more ominous foe for you than for the saved.
1. If death rings your doorbell before you trust Christ, you will never have another opportunity to come to him.
2. If death comes to you before you are saved, you will forever be barred from heaven, from God's presence, and from the loving presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. If death comes and finds you unsaved it will not take pity on your soul, but will take you down and into the torments of hell forever, without one hesitation.
4. You may not be able to avoid death, but you could come to Christ before death comes to you.
5. But I warn you, you are not assured of this afternoon, or tomorrow. Proverbs 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
II. DEATH IS AN ENEMY WHICH IS DESTINED FOR DESTRUCTION
A. Christ has not yet destroyed death but he has conquered the one who has the power of death. Hebrews 2:14-15 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
B. Christ has not yet destroyed death but he has subdued it and has the keys to it. Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
C. Christ has not yet destroyed death but he has shown his power to destroy it.
1. He manifest this power when he raised the daughter of Jairus. Luke 8:49-56 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. 50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. 56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done. \
2. He stopped a funeral procession and raised a widows son. Luke 7:11-16 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
3. One of his great triumphs over death came at the tomb of Lazarus.
a. He had been dead four days before Jesus came to raise him from the dead.
b. Death already had Lazarus' body in the state of decay so that he was stinking. John 11:39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
c. This did not deter Christ in the least. John 11:43-44 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
D. Christ has not yet destroyed death but he suffered the penalty of death for his people so that no child of God dies as a penalty of sin.
1. Believers die today so that their bodies can go through the change necessary to fit them for heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
2. God would not have them live on and on in these temporary houses of flesh. 2 Corinthians 5:1-6 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.
E. Though Christ has not completely destroyed death he has plucked its sting from it for his children. 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
F. Though Christ has not completely destroyed death he has annulled its power over the saints. 2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
1. The word translated abolish in this verse is the same as translated destroyed in our text.
2. This word sometimes has the meaning of complete destruction and sometimes means to render useless, powerless.
a. It is translated none effect in Galatians 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
b. It is translated no effect in Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
c. It is translated made of none effect in Romans 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect.
d. It is translated bring to nought in 1 Corinthians 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.
e. The idea in II Tim. 1:10 in the word abolish is that in his manifestation in the flesh Christ abolished the penal power of death for his elect.
G. But, the day will come when he will so destroy death that there will be no more death. Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
III. WHY DEATH IS THE LAST ENEMY TO BE DESTROYED
A. As long as there is sin in this world, there will be death. Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
B. Until Satan is cast down forever into the pit of hell, there will be death because he is a murderer. John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning.
C. Death is the last enemy to be destroyed because God can make good use of death now.
1. There is nothing more sobering than a visit to a cemetery unless it is a funeral.
2. Sometimes, the best message one can get is the message preached by death.
3. Death has been a means for Christians to exhibit the greatest testimony to the reality of their faith. Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
4. Death will still be serving a Divine purpose during the millennial reign of Christ. Isaiah 65:20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
D. If Christ were to come or death were destroyed before I die, there is once since in which I would never be made conformable to Christ. Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.
E. Death serves as a constant warning to the lost that they must die and they should prepare to meet God. Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
F. Death cannot be destroyed before the battle of Armageddon takes place. Revelation 19:11-21 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.
G. Death cannot be destroyed until the after end of the millennial reign of Christ because it will still have a purpose to serve at the end when Satan is loosed for a little season. Revelation 20:7-9 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
H. Death cannot be destroyed until after the white throne judgment. Revelation 20:11-14 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
I. Death is destroyed at the end of Christ's reign and the beginning of the new heave and the new earth. 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. Revelation 21:1-8 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
CONC: In conclusion let me call your attention to verses 4 and 8 of Rev. 21 again. Verse 4 contains the blesses assurance, there shall be no more death. This assures us that physical death has been destroyed once and for all. From that time forward, there shall never be another case of physical death, not of saint nor reprobate. Jesus Christ has destroyed physical death.
But, verse 8 tells of those who will be cast into the lake of fire which is the second death and the second death shall last as long for its inhabitants as the eternal bliss of heaven lasts for the saints. It will be a place of everlasting destruction from the presence of God. It will be a place where the fire is not quenched. It will be a place of wailing and gnashing of teeth. It will be a place of terrible thirst without a drop of water to cool your tormented tongue. It will be an eternity of torment in flames of fire and smoke of brimstone. It is the lake of fire, the second death. And, who will be there? Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
|For the saved there will be no more death, neither physical nor spiritual. Our blessed Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ shall destroy death and there shall be no more death.|
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Thursday, May 15, 2003